Anticipation (I think?)

I just bought opera tickets for my trip to Vienna in December. Or at least, I think I did. Even in the English version of the website, the process is confusing. It appears that I have agreed to pay for tickets that meet the requirements I put in the form, but I have not yet actually purchased them. At the moment I occupy an indeterminate state between a person who has an opera ticket and a person who does not have an opera ticket. It is a sort of Schrödinger’s Opera Ticket type situation. Which is fitting I guess given that Schrödinger was Austrian.

I am used to more of a 1. pay for ticket 2. get ticket system where the question of whether or not I have a ticket is determined by whether there are any tickets and whether my credit card is valid. But there’s probably a reason behind the Wiener Staatsoper’s system – maybe if a performance is sold out one is automatically on a waiting list if a ticket becomes available?

[Update: the cat is alive – my tickets have been “allocated”! The process has generated a rather astonishing number of emails beginning “Dear Frau S—–!” but it appears that all systems are go.]

14 thoughts on “Anticipation (I think?)

  1. it’s the only opera house i arrive without a ticket :-). though december can be tricky for hours standing outside to get the 3€ or 4€ (<– option+shift+2) tickets.. Frau R is singing something there?


    1. No Frau R this time (have to wait until February at Carnegie Hall for that!). I’m actually going to Vienna not specifically for opera, but since I’ll be there, I figured I might as well go to whatever I can.

      I’m not sure I’m up to standing outside for hours in December, even for the cheap tickets! Although it would certainly depend on what was on. You did that to hear VK in Alcina, right?


      1. i did for 3 alcina, 1 barber of seville, and 1 Werther, all w/ VK of course :-). i also lined up for what was supposed to be tag team garanca+netrebko in Carmen, though Garanca dropped out… but that was when i discover the madness related to Neb (was really in my opera infancy at the time, totally clueless…), line snaked around the block, tv crew buzzing, TONS of bright light + cameras, live broadcast… during performance, the whole crowd in standing room area was quite tamed until a scene with Neb, then everyone was on their toes neck stretching wanting a glimpse… and then the curtain call business, seemed like the entire cast was ignored and only Neb getting ovations and roars AND flowers… was a bit much. technically (unless Neb is in town) you should be able to get cheap standing tix by arriving around 5pm or later too b/c they have some 400 seats or something like that reserved for standing.. though w/ my height standing in back was not so productive. but if you do get front standing row on ground level, that’s the best place for view coz it’s only 18 rows total behind the orchestra pit! though if wanting view of orchestra and better sound, 1st row standing on balcony is best.. (all this just in case you decide spontaneously to see more when u’re there 🙂 )


        1. That level of uproar over Netrebko does sound like a bit much. I completely understand why people admire her – she’s a great singer – but the craziness seems to go beyond just the quality of the performance.

          The other thing on at the Staatsoper (if I remember right) is La Cenerentola – I can’t remember the cast. Might be sort of fun to try the standing-room tickets just for the experience – and at that price, it’s a super-cheap evening out! On the other hand, I’m on the short side too, and standing room would probably mean a seriously obstructed view unless I elbow my way to the front 🙂


      2. Yay! I was hoping you’d be going to Theodora (and that there might be a subsequent Earworm post? Please?). What a cast! And as if DR wasn’t enough of a drawcard, you also get the wonderful Sarah Connolly. David Daniels is no slouch, either.


        1. I don’t think I could go to that and NOT write about it 🙂 When I bought the ticket I had DR in mind, and I was very pleasantly surprised when I realized that Connolly and Daniels were in it too. I’m really looking forward to it.


  2. For performances in December they won’t confirm tickets until October. It’s always only two months before the performance date that the actual tickets go on sale. What you’ve done is put yourself on a waiting list which I’m not even going to explain, let alone justify – one of those typically parochial Austrian ‘waiting lists’ governed not by first-come-first-served but rather pretty corruption. Providing you’re not seeing Netrebko, Kaufmann or Thielemann, it should work out though. Be warned that one of Culturall’s dirty tricks is to upsell to a much higher price bracket by telling you they’ve sold out your preferred category. 8 times out of 10 this is bullshit, though to find out you need to get indignant in Viennese dialect on the phone. But fingers crossed none of this happens. If it does drop me a line (zwoelftoener [at], I can fix tickets to most things.

    What are you seeing, by the way? Also worth checking out is this at the Theater an der Wien: At the beginning of December there’s Abbado and Pollini at the Musikverein too.


    1. We (spouse and I) are seeing Tristan and Isolde, and Fidelio. Thank you for the offer of help if things go wrong with the tickets 🙂

      I just looked at the Theater an der Wien’s website . . . Schubert’s Lazarus may be in my future!


      1. It’s been a while since I booked a Staatsoper ticket with Culturall, but my understanding is that tickets aren’t really confirmed until they bill your credit card around 8 weeks before. To be fair the Staatsoper website seems clear about this. ‘Allocated’ is possibly a bad translation but I might be wrong. But like I mentioned, it gets crazy mostly with just Trebs, Jonas & CT.

        In principle I don’t find the Schrödinger limbo all that bad when you consider the online hell that gets unleashed when ROH and other houses open general booking. But this is Vienna, so in theory it’s German and orderly, but in practice Italian and corrupt (forgive the stereotyping!). If you’re local it’s too easy to game the Culturall system. There have also been occasions when a friend has been told a performance was sold out and I was subsequently offered a Regiekarte; just don’t know what to say to that.

        Schenk Fidelio followed by Lazarus? There’s a joke in there somewhere.


          1. I just checked, and they’ve sent me an email that says they’ve charged my credit card, so it looks like it’s all sorted out.

            Re: Fidelio and Lazarus – yeah, there probably is 🙂


            1. Oh nice. Confusing that this somewhat contradicts what it says on their website, aber immerhin – Ende gut, alles gut!

              Re the standing comment above: pushing to the front = the Viennese will actually lynch you. But if you get there early you can easily get a spot in the front row of the Parterre standing, which for €4 is the best deal in all of opera. Sightlines superior to what you get for €15 Regiekarte most of the time. The commenter above expresses a view you hear often but I’m yet to be convinced by; everything is certainly more blended in the Galerie Stehplätze but the voices are just that bit more distant, and as for the Balcony, even the area around the front row Stehplatz, well, I’m just not sold on that at all.


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